President’s Message – Q1 2019

By: Mike Guerra
CLSA President & CEO

March 27, 2019 


As the new President & CEO of California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), I have worked closely with our leadership team and Board of Directors throughout the past three months to determine how CLSA can best deploy our significant resources to better support our members. To start, we are continuing our strategic expansion efforts, most notably with the recent addition of Andrew Setikas as Senior Vice President, Business Development & Strategy. In this newly created position, Andrew will work to enhance CLSA membership value, member engagement and strategic partnerships. In the coming months, we will also expand our federal and state policy and advocacy teams to better support our state’s growing life sciences ecosystem – keep an eye out for these exciting announcements in future President’s Messages!

As we look toward 2020 and beyond, the most important undertaking for CLSA and our sector will be ensuring real access for patients to the innovative medicines, devices and diagnostics that are being developed in our state and across the United States.

Policymakers must understand the value of biomedical innovation and how it improves both patient care and our economy. Life sciences entrepreneurs with great intellectual property need advisory services to develop their business plans, and investors to fund the phases of research necessary to bring their ideas forward.  In turn, their investors want a return. The reality of the market is that if innovators can’t provide a return, funders will migrate to high-tech or other sectors, leaving behind potential treatments and cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, rare diseases, and other conditions.  Ultimately, patients suffer.

In addition to our biomedical focus, CLSA supports the broader life sciences sector, providing value to members of all sizes – from our critical relationships in Sacramento and Washington, DC to our startup advisory services, key business discounts, connections and thought leadership – as they develop environmental, agricultural and industrial products and services as well as innovative treatments and affordable care for all Californians.

This President’s Message will be published quarterly and will set out CLSA’s areas of focus and document our policy work, programs, thought leadership and entrepreneurial support.  I hope to connect with all of you through the work we do this year. You may reach me directly at


Mike Guerra

President & Chief Executive Officer
California Life Sciences Association

CLSA’s Key 3:

ADVOCATE: CLSA’s Sacramento and Washington, DC teams actively engage and educate policymakers on the positive impact and value of life sciences entrepreneurship and biomedical innovation.
CONNECT: CLSA develops and supports a number of opportunities aimed at connecting individuals and life sciences organizations and bolstering the community across California.  Check out our Strategic HR: Workforce Development for Life Sciences, Digital Health and Women Leading Life Sciences initiatives, as well as our professional development courses.
INNOVATE: Since its launch in Fall 2013, the California Life Sciences Institute’s (CLSI) FAST Advisory Program cycles have generated over 6,960 advisory hours valued at over $1,546,000 for the 60 companies who have graduated from the program. Since participating in FAST, these companies have raised $813 million and created 305 new jobs, more than tripling their workforce. Twenty-four of these companies have secured Series A investments, 14 have concluded strategic partnerships and five have successfully exited.